Mary Beth Writes

I regularly read blogs about being frugal.  I like them because they are about people taking as much control of the quality of their life as they can within the many different circumstances in which people live.  I especially love the letters people write listing what they did in the past few days to be careful and thoughtful about what they spend and how they save.

But frankly, if I tell you what I do, its gets weirdly personal and repetitive really fast.  Um, I didn’t eat meals out, made the laundry detergent, and bought some cool stuff at Goodwill that I am trying – without much luck lately – to sell on eBay. Yah, that’s gonna change anybody’s day….

Instead of listing what I do – let me tell you some of the things I have read and learned from other people’s letters and articles.

1. Len read this, this morning and pointed it out.   http://www.latimes.com/local/abcarian/la-me-abcarian-dementia-prevention...

“The most disturbing thing I heard recently about the prevention of Alzheimer's disease and dementia was … : "I was speaking to the head of neurology up at Stanford who said 'My waiting room is filled with 70-year-olds with the bodies of 40-year-olds and no minds.'"

Not exactly how to save some dollars today, but a powerful way to save our minds.  This is so incredibly true; there are always and will always be so many things to accomplish in a day – but we are spending our future if we don’t make the time to eat well and MOVE.

2. Add a small amount of water - a tablespoon or two - to a nearly empty hand lotion bottle. Shake and use for another week or two.

3. Cut empty toothpaste tubes open half way down the tube, stick your toothbrush in there and get another week of toothpaste.

4. I’ve not done this, to me it sounds like a fun project to do with kids but... when you finish celery, green onions, leeks, carrots… put the root end in a glass of water. When new roots begin to grow, you can plant that plant outside and get another round of that veggie for free.

If the squirrels, robins, and bunnies don’t eat them.

5. Look at the website before you go to a movie, restaurant, theater, store, park, or whatever.  There are often deals and coupons at the website.

6. Try this for a week.  Write down (or save the receipts and go through regularly) every single thing you buy in a day; bottles of water and sodas, lunch, the stop in at Target for Band-Aids and how you leave $63 later.  Add it up.

What are your goals? Save more towards owning your own home? Save towards retirement. Waste less? Simplify the stuff in your house? Live more kindly and lightly on the planet?

Yes?

A. Figure out how much money you spent that was not exactly necessary. Let’s say you could find a way to “save instead of spend” $25 every week.  In 20 years you would have spent $26,000. But if you had saved it, you will have $40,000.

Or use the calculator to see that $25 invested for 20 years at 5.25% equals - $70.   

https://www.budgetworksheets.org/invest/

B. Places to give $25 that will make a strong different. Google this question: “Where can I give $25 that will help the world?”

Oh the places the internet can take you.

Here are some of Nick Kristof’s recommendations

https://twitter.com/nickkristof/status/276519215354236930?lang=en

 

Comments

I love to punch different numbers into a retirement calculator and see how the numbers change. If I add $10 a week, what if it $15. I know, I'm a nerd. I do most of the above. I think posting about it keeps bloggers accountable. Sometimes something new pops up and I have the DUH moment where I'm like why didn't I think of that.

Thanks! We keep looking at it from the other end - we are recently retired and we still need to be smart about this, but we have enough to live securely (knock on wood). And how did this happen? We started saving modestly 30 years ago - whammo, this works!

I do learn a lot from you. Does putting new handles and knobs on 60 year old cabinets, instead of buying new - count as being frugal ? Smiling.

You betcha!

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What's in Vanilla?

I just read a flurry of emails on a frugal website about the rising cost of vanilla and how people are working around that while continuing to live their frugal lives.

Not one of the letters asked these logical questions.

Why has the price of vanilla risen so steeply?

What is happening to the people who grow and process it? 

"One must have sunshine..." Living Life Forward

This is another interview with a person who lives frugally and thoughtfully by design and by default. 

Thanks, Helle.

.....

How I met Helle Koustrup Berry tells you a lot about how she arranges her life.

Mindful Chickens a Month Later

(I just like the bison joke...) 

It’s been a while since I wrote a Mindful Chicken. 

Mindful Chickens are (for people who don’t know why I call them this) about TWO things.

  1. Being Cheap (cheep, cheep).
  2. Being thoughtful about how choices affect our community and our earth.

___________

ONE – I donated blood. Why is this frugal? A tech checks your blood pressure and temperature. They prick your finger to test for hemoglobin (iron) levels are normal or low.

Looking for Sincere and Heartfelt Tales

A while back I posted an article about my friend Franc; I talked about how he has created a good life for himself even though he has rarely earned more than $15,000 in a year. (Right here)

This article was satisfying to write. I enjoyed spending time with Franc and asking nosy questions. Yes, it’s a challenge to interview folks and then write about their lives, but I did this often in my 12 years as a newspaper columnist and I like the adventure of it.

Mindful Chickens - Chicago Edition

Mindful? Thinking about what we do around here to be responsible to the world and to ourselves.

Chicken? Cheep, Cheep, Cheap!

 You may have noticed I haven’t posted in a while. There’s been a lot going on – including this pleasure.  Len and I went to Chicago for several days to care for our granddaughter while our daughter and son-in-law went out of town.

Mindful Chickens on an Icy Night

My church has been working for months to organize their fund-raising auction that was supposed to be TONIGHT. But instead we are in the middle of the massive spring storm that is scrubbing the nation from Oklahoma to I don’t know where next. The wind is howling; rain is sleeting into snow over a glaze of ice.

So the auction is postponed until next Saturday evening. I have put in so many hours (as have many other) working towards this event in the past weeks - that being quietly at home not working on it makes me feel as if I won a lottery. 

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